A well worn cookbook is a map of taste. Flip through the pages and you’ll find the spine naturally giving way at favourite dishes, the recipes marked with notes or greasy fingers. It reveals the cooking history of it’s owner and holds memories in those oil splattered pages of shared meals and good times.
One of my most worn cookbooks is Falling Cloudberries by Tessa Kiros. It is a rich and colourful memoir that traverses the globe from Finland to South Africa via the Mediterranean to capture Kiros’ family recipes. If you let the pages of my copy fall open, they will land at Greece, and you’ll find the recipe for a chickpea salad.
This is a most satisfying salad. The chickpeas make it almost a meal in itself and the feta coats everything to make a salty, creamy dressing that comes to life with the citrus and herbs.
It’s my go-to dish for whenever I’m asked to bring a salad to a party, especially BBQs as it goes so beautifully with grilled meat. The flavours in the salad get better over time, so make it a few hours before you serve it if you can. I top leftovers with smoked salmon or stir through some tinned tuna to make a delicious work lunch. If you like coriander (cilantro) more than I, then add 1/2 a cup like the original recipe calls for.
Chickpea, Feta and Parsley Salad
Serves 6-8 as a side dish
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 1/2 tbs olive oil
- Pinch red chili flakes
- 2 x 400g (14oz) tins of chickpeas
- 4 spring onions (scallions), green part only, chopped
- 1 cup chopped parsley
- Juice of one lemon
- 150g (5 ounces) feta
- Salt and pepper
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and cook the red onion till lightly golden. Add garlic and chili and cook till the garlic is fragrant. Set aside to cool so it doesn’t melt the feta when you mix it in.
Drain the chickpeas, rinse and place in the salad bowl. Add crumbled feta, spring onion, parsley and lemon juice, season with salt and pepper. Add the cooled onion and garlic mixture and remaining oil and mix well.
(Recipe morphed over time from the original in Falling Cloudberries by Tessa Kiros)